Green’s Dictionary of Slang

bugger n.1

[SE bugger, a sodomite; a trans. of 14C Fr. bougre, ult. Lat. Bulgarus, a Bulgarian, a name given to a sect of heretics who came from Bulgaria in the 11C. The term was transferred to the Albigensian heretics, who it was believed were largely homosexual. Despite appearances, the term remains SE, although the OED, c.1900, states that ‘in decent use only as a legal term’. Its verbal and comb. uses are, however, sl., as are the n. uses cited here]

1. [early 18C+] (also b, bogger) a person, usu. a man, a ‘bloke’; esp. as silly bugger, daft bugger etc, none of which is necessarily pej.

2. [mid-19C+] a thing, or creature, with no special connotations.

3. [1910s+] (also B) something unpleasant or undesirable, a great nuisance; thus a bugger to; a bugger of a.

4. [1980s+] (S.Afr.) a dedicatedly masculine male, whose lack of sensitivity is more than compensated for by his enthusiasm for all forms of sport.

5. see booger n.1 (1)

In compounds

bugger chick (n.) [chick n.1 (3)]

[1980s+] (S.Afr.) ‘the compliant girlfriend of an aggressively masculine man’ (DSAE).

buggers afloat (n.)

[1990s+] (N.Z.) doughnuts, dumplings or fried scones.

bugger’s muddle (n.)

a mess.

In phrases

buggers-on-the-coals (n.)

[mid-19C+] (Aus./N.Z.) a currant damper.

play silly buggers (v.) (also play funny buggers, play silly fannies, play silly fuckers) [var. on bugger about v.; fanny n.1 (6)/fucker n. (3)]

1. [1960s+] to act uncooperatively, to mess around, to cause a deliberate nuisance; occas. as n. without play.

2. [1990s+] to indulge in sexual relations, both heterosexual and homosexual.

right (old) bugger

[mid-19C+] anything considered unpleasant, excessively challenging etc.

bugger for

1. [1950s+] a phr. denoting an enthusiast, an obsessive, e.g. a bugger for work.

2. [1990s+] someone highly reluctant to do something.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

bugger bandit (n.)

[2000s] a male homosexual.

bugger’s grips (n.) [note tailor’s jargon bugger-bafflers, the side vents on a man’s jacket]

[20C+] (orig. RN) the brushed back ‘wings’ of hair that adorn the temples of many upper class Englishmen. Coarse rumour imputes these as the handholds for those who are positioning such partners ready for anal penetration.